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Henry Rollins: The News Cycle Madness of Malaysia Flight 370

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Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 3:45 AM
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[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]

When I read that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had disappeared - a state-of-the-art Boeing 777, said to be an incredibly safe way to travel - I waited patiently for the chance to learn what happened. As days passed with no answers, I became fascinated with the speculation being cast forth by news pundits and radio personalities, but even more so by the almost substance-free bits of information coming from Malaysia and the other countries that were in some way involved.

Information coming from any government source seemed almost purposefully opaque. I thought that it was perhaps to provide some cover as they were doing the real work of tracking down an extremist group or protecting Boeing and Air Malaysia from the wrath of the relatives of the 239 people on board.

Whenever something happens that can be considered a world event, I pay close attention to how it is being spun, rendered and utilized. One person's disaster is another person's talking point. The pundits wasted no time.

Some said that for the friends and families of those on board MH370, this was their own private Benghazi. The flight's disappearance was linked to President Obama's many alleged shortcomings and small posture on the world stage. It's just talk, and I say let them talk. It doesn't get anyone anywhere, but it is amusing to listen to.

My favorite bit of speculative, turn-the-crank, sausage-making bullshit came from Fox News model Bill Hemmer on March 19, when he asked a former FAA spokesperson, "So, what, it took us 100 years to find the Titanic? It took us 2,000 years to find Noah's Ark. Do we ever find flight 370?"

Took 2,000 years but I guess we did indeed find Noah's Ark, so give us a few centuries and perhaps we can find an enormous plane with a cutting-edge communications system.

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